SCV Water’s quick and proactive response to removing per, and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in its groundwater supply received top honors as the Best Environmental Project from the American Public Works Association (APWA), High Desert Branch.
“It’s an honor that our ambitious PFAS treatment program was recognized with this prestigious award by a well-respected, nationally recognized association,” said SCV Water’s General Manager Matt Stone. “Our customers come first, and we’re committed to safeguarding their water supply through our PFAS treatment program.”
This award recognizes the Agency’s multi-year PFAS treatment strategy that is focused on restoring water quality in the Santa Clarita Valley through a three-pronged approach of treatment, technology and transparency, including:
Formation a strike team of staff and outside experts to find solutions to this groundwater challenge.
Identification of several “quick start” treatment projects and long-term water restoration solutions.
Deployment of a large-scale outreach plan to maintain customer trust, confidence and understanding in the Agency’s efforts.
In just over a year, SCV Water constructed its first PFAS water treatment facility, restoring groundwater affected by PFAS to an equivalent of about 5,000 households annually. It is one of the first operational PFAS treatment plants in California – and the very first to use ion exchange resin.
In addition, the Agency is moving forward with additional groundwater treatment projects that are expected to be online within the next year. Combined, these new treatment facilities will return an additional 4,850 gallons per minute (gpm) of water, enough for about 4,000 families per year, to its customers.
The first of these projects already in construction is SCV Water’s Valley Center Well, located just west of Golden Valley Road and bordering the Santa Clara River. Once this groundwater well is restored it will produce up to 1,200 gpm on average, which will serve up to 1,000 families annually.
Also, the Agency has purchased laboratory equipment that will allow them to test for PFAS in house. Currently, samples are sent to an outside lab. Once fully certified, in less than two years, SCV Water will see a return on investment of its total equipment cost of more than $500,000.
2 APWA-High Desert’s Awards are presented annually to honor the best in High Desert-area public works projects. All entries were judged by a panel of High Desert Chapter members, to provide an unbiased evaluation and scoring of each submission.
This marks SCV Water’s third award for its PFAS restoration program following two community outreach awards from the California Association of Public Information Officials and the Public Relations Society of America – Los Angeles Chapter.
“We’re here for our customers, and we’ll continue to look for new ways to preserve the water quality in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said SCV Water’s Director of Maintenance and Operations, Mike Alvord.
APWA has a worldwide membership of more than 30,000 public works professionals from local state, county and federal agencies as well as private sector personnel. It provides educational and networking opportunities that help public works personnel grow in their profession and improve the quality of life in the communities they serve. The High Desert Branch includes the northern portion of Los Angeles County and the majority of San Bernardino County.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade chemicals that are prevalent in the environment and were commonly used in industrial and consumer products to repel grease, moisture, oil, water and stains. Water agencies do not put these chemicals into the water, but over time very small amounts enter the water supplies through manufacturing, wastewater discharge and product use. Exposure to these chemicals may cause adverse health effects.
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